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Paul and the Vocation of Israel: How Paul's Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to Romans

WINDSOR, LIONEL JAMES (2012) Paul and the Vocation of Israel: How Paul's Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to Romans. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This dissertation argues that Paul’s apostolic mission to the Gentiles was the definitive expression of his divine vocation as an Israelite, and thus of his Jewish identity. For many of Paul’s Jewish contemporaries, Israel’s divine vocation was to keep and to teach the precepts of the Law of Moses as an exemplary witness to God’s power and wisdom. For Paul, however, Jewish identity was expressed primarily by preaching the gospel of Christ, as the fulfilment of the Law of Moses, to the Gentiles. This is seen most clearly in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

In chapter 1, we summarize our methodology: we are seeking to examine Paul’s Jewish identity by reading Paul’s letters (especially Romans), in light of other second-temple Jewish texts, using certain insights from social identity theory. We show that the concept of vocation is an important dimension of Jewish identity, especially in Paul’s letters. We also discuss some prior approaches to the question of Paul’s Jewishness, demonstrating both their value and also their limitations for our purposes.

In chapter 2, we survey three key aspects of Paul’s explicit language of Jewish identity in his letters: Jewish distinctiveness, divine revelation and divine vocation.

In chapter 3, we demonstrate that Paul deliberately frames his letter to the Romans (Rom 1:1–15, 15:14–33) by presenting his apostolic ministry as the fulfilment of positive scripturally-based eschatological expectations concerning Israel’s divine vocation with respect to the nations. We also compare Paul’s self-presentation in the outer frame of Romans with other first-century expressions of Jewish vocation.

In chapter 4, we concentrate on Rom 2:17–29. Contrary to most interpretations which read this passage as a discussion about the nature of (Jewish or Christian) salvation, we argue that Paul deliberately sets this passage in the context of the mainstream Jewish synagogue, in order to contest the nature of Jewish vocation.

In chapter 5, we examine Rom 9–11 from the perspective of Jewish vocation. We demonstrate that in Rom 9–11, Paul presents his own apostolic vocation, in various ways, as a contrast to, a fulfilment of, and a means of hope for Israel’s place and role in God’s worldwide purposes.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Biblical Studies; New Testament; Paul; Pauline Studies; Jew; Jewish; Jewish Identity; Vocation; Ministry; Mission; Missionary; Apostle; Apostolic Ministry; Israel; Romans 2:17-29; Romans 9-11; Romans; Law of Moses; Gospel; Servant; Isaiah; Scripture; Use of Scripture; scriptural
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 Jul 2012 08:32

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